Dazed and drenched within Tokyo's oppressive summer furnace, I peered up from my squat through the prism of perspiration in my eyelids to see a figure I had gradually come to know as the grumpy ol' garden drunk.

"When 'ja plant 'dem cucumbers?" he slurred, fingering a tall can of tepid happōshu in his rustic left claw.

"Um, about a month ago."