In a country that doesn’t make it easy for non-Japanese entrepreneurs, sometimes the options for Japan’s foreign residents can seem limited. Opening your own business is rarely as straightforward as you might hope, and finding a foothold in a notoriously insular marketplace can be almost impossible.

Long-time resident Craig White, owner of White Smoke, has been through every step in that process, pivoting smoothly from restaurateur to running his own meat production company out of Saitama Prefecture. Today, his extensive lineup of traditional Texas-style barbecue — slow-smoked ribs, chicken, bacon and sausage — is served at high-end hotels and restaurants across the country, and sold in stores such as Costco Japan and Dean & DeLuca.

White acknowledges the tremendous luck he’s had in getting to where he is today, but also says “luck is a matter of opportunity meeting preparedness.”