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  I went to Palo Alto, California, to attend the kick-off meeting of the Entrepreneurship in Japan Project at Stanford. The meeting was very interesting and stimulating as different fields are represented—business, economics law, engineering etc. I enjoyed seeing quite a few friends from the past (who are authorities in each field of their expertise) and meeting with new people for the first time. All day meeting to discuss research questions for the project in English was quite exhaustive, however, as I had NOT attended any meeting for the past six weeks! I had been just writing in Japanese without any interaction except e-mail and communication over the phone!). 

 It was nice to have blue sky of the summer in Palo Alto after a few days of pouring rain in British Columbia. I felt that the weather makes a big difference as to how you feel.   What was quite challenging was the 3-hour + drive in the pouring rain on the narrow, winding roads some of which are under construction (i.e. maximum speed limit of 30 miles etc.) from Whistler to Vancouver (both ways) and the long lines at the airport even for easy-check in (on the machine with e-ticket) and for security check. By now I am more or less used to the time required to clear these lines (I get to the airport 2.5 to 3 hour in advance), but for the short flight of 2 hours or so, the time I must spend standing on the long lines seems so unproductive. I also realized that I was entering the U.S., i.e. I had to go through Immigration and Customs.

    Despite all the hassle, the meeting gave me a lot of ideas (some of which were very helpful for my book) and I felt honored to be included in the project.  I felt refreshed when I came back to British Columbia and started on working on my chapters with some renewed vigor!
It looks that Palo Alto will become one of the places I visit very often now. 

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  • Comments (6)

    • Hiroshi Hatano
    • August 28th, 2008


    As for Palo Alto, I visited there seven times in last ten years for both business and pleasure. Most people take Route 101 as I often do when I go there. But it was one of my happiest moments when I drove Route 280 from San Francisco to San Diego. It is spectacular. It is THE drive along with a series of unforgettable music in the Bay Area. Any music on FM sounds very nice while driving.

    For Stanford, I found it mostly impressive including intellectual dnvironment, casual and friendly people, nice facility and chapel. I sat a while in the campus chapel. What I remember is that it was very quite and I felt something inside.

    Well, no wonder there are so many ventures have been born and grown! I think it continues to be that way. As I am interested in a cluster a little bit, here is an essay to explain about Silicon Valley. It is a keynote and certainly fun reading.

    I feel like going there again. Why not next months?


    Hiroshi Hatano

    • yishikura
    • August 29th, 2008

    Dear Hiroshi, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thanks for your comment.
    It was indeed Route 280 I took on my way back to the SFO airport from Palo Alto. (The driver said that was his favorite route, and wanted to show me the scenic way rather than traffic jam of 101. It was so beautiful with the fog coming in around the reservoir.)

    Stanford is such an exciting and stimulating place (and casual as well) that I began feeling very attached to it.

    • Hiroshi Hatano
    • August 31st, 2008


    I can see you view the scenic way in Route 280. In three weeks, I will take the route listening to the music “If we hold on together”.
    It is a beautiful song sang by a beautiful voice here.

    It is really something that driving on 280 and listening to it. One must feel something deep inside. I do not know exactly why but, this reminds me of commencement speech of Steve Jobs and the last lecture of Randy Pausch.
    Well, on the second thought, all have something in common, “faith”.


    Hiroshi Hatano

    • yishikura
    • September 1st, 2008

    Hi, Hiroshi, thanks. I find some songs touch my heart so deeply that I feel like crying as I am so moved. Great music, shows, arts inspire us so much, as well as great speech. Don’t they?

  1. Dear Yoko,

    You were a very valuable part of that conference and the whole project – particularly me – is proud to have you with us. Since you like 280, the next time you are here we will take you to Alice’s Restaurant on the top of the mountain above 280.



    • yishikura
    • September 13th, 2008

    Hi, Bob, thanks for your kind words. I am looking forward to the next trip to Palo Alto and Alice’s Restaurant.

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