Actually. The sherry (alcohol) is what I am using to preserve the ginger. I could use vodka. It is cheaper and has a neutral flavor. However, most of the Asian recipes that call for a short marinade of meat (cornstarch, ginger, sugar, soy and shao hsing wine.) Good Shao Hsing wine is very expensive and not that easy to find. The cooking shao hsing wine is like regular cooking wine, it is salted. The substitutes for Shao Hsing wine would be either Sherry, mirin, or Sake. Sherry keeps a long time, sake does not keep well after it is opened so I only buy a little jar of it. I was going to preserve the ginger in sake until I found out that sake is only good for about 9 days after opening. Needless to say, I have a couple of large bottles of sake I don't know what to do with. In recipes sherry is the usual substitute for shao hsing wine.
I can use the ginger in any recipe that calls for ginger. The pieces are thumb size so they are about the size called for in most recipes. Freezing and keeping ginger in the refrigerator works for short storage but they dry out. I can actually harvest ginger anytime after about 5 months of growing. They will be big enough. I do have to harvest the entire container after the ginger blooms or it is going to be to crowded and the pieces will be small and very hard to clean. The sherry can be used in the same recipes as the ginger for the Shao Hsing wine. I just have to make sure that the ginger pieces remain submerged.
Takuan can be pungent but the smell is not nearly as bad as pickled cabbage. The first time I open those jars, I do it outside where it can vent for awhile. I cover it with a food umbrella.
If you think daikon was bad you should take a whiff of bagoong (filipino fermented fish paste). That stuff really draws the flies. It smells bad, but it tastes good.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.