Takeru Kobayashi introduced most of us to competitive eating. He put the sport — and I don’t use that term lightly — on the map, and has since been shunned from the competition by greedy Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest promoters because he refuses to work for them full-time on their terms. In short, they claim he owes them for his fame. He thinks he’s his own person.
We sat down with the Babe Ruth of competitive eating and found out that, indeed, Takeru Kobayaski is very much his own person. He’s a unique individual of the highest order. Here’s what you didn’t know about him…
His poop doesn’t come out all at once, rather, he expels whatever massive amount of food he’s consumed over the course of 2-4 days. The longest it’s ever taken him to fully digest anything was 7-pounds of turkey, which took a grueling two weeks.
He is a huge baseball fan. A few years back, Kobi was asked to throw out the first pitch at a Mets game, so he got all gassed up and rocked cleats and everything — thinking he would show off his arm. But when he was just about to go out they informed him that he wouldn’t be able to use the mound. He still threw a strike, but didn’t get the juice on it he’d have liked. Kobi has estimated his fastball at 80-plus mph. Check it out:
Kobayashi’s girlfriend is also his interpreter. You can see her in the video footage taken during his arrest back in 2010, when he got on stage at the “Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest” and was physically removed by security. She claims he was unfairly treated by police at the event, but the guys back at the station were clamoring to get pictures with him.
His favorite baseball player is Hideki Matsui, whom he considers better than Japanese legend Ichiro Suzuki. Kobi also thinks Matsui’s massive porn collection is weird, though he pointed out the irony that Matsui has never once shown his wife to the media but is very open about his pornography habits.
During our four-hour conversation, Kobayaski did not finish a piece of toast he had ordered. (This is 100% true.)
He is, unequivocally, a renaissance man, who blogs about high fashion and, get this — food. But nice food, not hot dogs or whatever.
He was super nice about Joey Chestnut, but from what I gathered from our conversation, the official world #1 competitive eater is a total turd. Chestnut can be seen in a TMZ video posted today saying that Kobayashi doesn’t do Nathan’s anymore because he started losing. That’s a lie — Kobayashi doesn’t compete in Major League Eating events anymore because the contract they offered him limited him to $40,000 a year.
Kobayashi thinks Chestnut might be a cheater. Based on his creepy ass laugh and seven consecutive victories, we wouldn’t put it past him…
The guy has never eaten a vegan hot dog nor ever heard of Hummel. His favorite “pleasure” hot dog, however, is made in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at Bark. As far as “business” hot dogs are concerned, Kobayashi likes Nathan’s. He’s also a fan of the quirky history of the Oscar Meyer company, of which he knows, like, way too much about.
You can see him compete against Chestnut under the same conditions via satellite this July 4th at his own contest on the roof of 230 Fifth (at 230 5th ave, duh). If you’re struggling to grasp why Kobayashi isn’t participating in the Nathan’s contest in Coney Island, consider this: Last year’s runner-up will be eating with Kobi at the Manhattan event.