After 21 years in Japan and for most of that time working 15 hours a day, Calabrian restaurateur Elio Ermanno Orsara has achieved a certain measure of success.

The foyer of his restaurant, Elio Locanda Italiana, in Tokyo's Kojimachi district, is a gallery of framed awards, commendations, testimonials, as well as copies of Italian newspaper articles with photographs showing Orsara shaking hands with Italian presidents. Framed and also on display are signed snapshots of famous customers such as fashion designer Giorgio Armani and soccer players Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti. Still only 45 years young, he's been knighted twice for merit and service to his country — once by the Italian royal family and once by the Italian government.

Besides his restaurant, Orsara has a direct-import, online shopping website, and operates a successful catering operation serving private parties, the Italian Embassy and, once, even the Imperial family.