Masanobu Furuya / Marubeni America Corporation, Silicon Valley Branch
Silicon Valley is the common name for an area located about 50 kilometers south of San Francisco, and as the name suggests, the region is a valley area where there is a concentration of semiconductor makers and other high-tech companies. While it is a common misunderstanding on the part of everyone, Silicon Valley is not the specific name of a city, and is actually made up of a group of cities that includes San Jose and Santa Clara.
Gaining prominence mainly due to venture capital firms, the beginnings of Silicon Valley are attributed to Stanford University engineers, who have long had an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit, starting up high-tech companies in the area. It is now seen as the preeminent area in all of the United States in the fields such as IT, medicine and biotech, and the engineers and businessmen who converge here are showing no sign of decline. Even at this branch, each unit of the metal resources, chemical goods, communication business, biotech and new technology, as well as the U.S. subsidiary of Marubeni Information Systems, conduct a wide variety of business activities here including investment.
With cool summers and warm winters, it is said to have the most ideal climate of anywhere in America, and is a comfortable and pleasant environment. However perhaps due to the influence from the dessert in the mid-west, I also often see Japanese visiting on business who are caught off-guard by the nighttime chill and are not accustomed to the daily swing in temperatures who end up returning home with colds.
Now, let me introduce the typical food culture of this region. The Napa Valley is about one and a half hour’s drive toward North from Silicon Valley. This is a stretch of countryside with many beautiful wineries. The beautiful scenery lifts my spirits, and if I make the most of the opportunity to take a tour of the wineries, before I know it my car’s trunk is overflowing with wines. On the way back I routinely stop by at San Francisco to have my fill of seafood. In particular, Dungeness Crab roasted with garlic – a local specialty on the West Coast – is something everyone should try! This will definitely be well received even when entertaining for business, and is never a bad choice!
The school motto of Stanford University is “The wind of freedom blows” (*1). Moreover, there is a “climate”(*2) for start-up businesses to set up shop here, the gentle winds from the Pacific Ocean have made an environment for grape growing, and the ocean currents that cause those “winds” have nurtured the fish and seafood. Whatever the time, a variety of winds are blowing here. And today again, a business traveler went home after catching a “cold”(*2).
(*1) In German: “Die Luft der Freiheit weht”
(*2) The words for “climate” and “cold” in Japanese also contain the word for “wind”