Astrophysicists may bicker over whether the universe is exploding or imploding, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that in the microcosmic world of Tokyo, expansion is the overriding force at work. Proof of this would be clearly visible from space — especially at night — as one after another of the semiurban centers that surround the city comes online as an entertainment enclave.

If you superimposed the network of Tokyo's major commuter trains on what you'd see, the path of expansion would even make sense. The first to flare up are always the areas around stations where express trains stop, especially the first two or three out of town. But Sangenjaya, which is in the magic inner circle of "first express stops" (on the Denentoshi Line out of Shibuya) would look strangely dark — an inexplicable brownout in an otherwise logically lit grid.

But then the area is wedged between Shimokitazawa and Jiyugaoka, two local hot spots of long-standing, each of which sits on its own discrete spoke on the commuter hub from Shibuya. In fact, Sangenjaya is equidistant from all three — Shimokitazawa, Jiyugaoka and Shibuya — trapped there in a triangle.