TOKYO -- From San Francisco International Airport, it's about a 15-minute ride along the bay to a four-story building in Silicon Valley where a Japanese telecom carrier is setting up its headquarters. The sign reads "SoftBank."
The top floor is reserved for directors and executives. Stepping off an elevator, one emerges into a wide-open space, but divided by a glass corridor, through which an artificial creek flows. The soothing atmosphere is reminiscent of the ambience at a Japanese-style inn.