Takeru Kobayashi (Japanese: 小林 尊), nicknamed Kobi, is a competitive eater from Japan who has yet to explode from the massive amounts of food he is able to consume at one sitting. He is personally responsible for the extinction of three food species and famines in eight countries. He holds the Guinness world’s record for most wins in eating competitions. The main Guinness brewery at St James Gate, Dublin, was drunk dry by Kobi following his award ceremony, setting back production three months. Be very afraid.
As a baby, his mother stated that little Takeru was quite typical, neither fat nor thin. She did note that as a three-year-old, he was becoming a picky eater. Then one day, his mother rushed out of the house on some kind of emergency. When she returned, she found her son had panicked and assumed he was abandoned. Because of that, he had eaten all the food in the house including a 10 kg. (22 lb.) bag of uncooked rice. Luckily, his mother returned in time before he could start in on the furniture. From then on, the young boy had a good appetite with a reputation to match. Neighbors would bring over candy and any leftovers to keep him happy so he wouldn't turn cannibal and go after them.
After graduating from high school, Kobayashi made a visit to the United States as a tourist. He managed to get himself really lost and ended up in beautiful and historic Elizabeth, New Jersey. As the sun set and eldritch monsters came out of their lairs, the Japanese national beat a quick retreat and ended up in the nearby swamps. There he met what he describes as a "little green man" who invited him over for a barbecue. Kobayashi had five dogs but was amazed to see his host down forty in fifteen minutes. Since Kobi decided he really liked hot dogs, he readily agreed to be trained by the little green man on how to eat. The training was complete when Kobayashi could snatch one Ball Park or Oscar Mayer frank from the master's hand then eat it without gagging or barfing.
Things had came full circle as Kobayashi had now learned the ancient Japanese art of Kuishimbo. Its practitioners would scarf up nearly all the food when invited over for dinner. Even with such a guest, hosts were not allowed by custom to comment, grumble or kill him. They would just stoically trudge over to the nearest 7-11 for something marginally edible. In earlier times, hosts would have had to go out and eat leaves from trees and bushes, admittedly more nutritious than snacks from 7-11.
A heavily fictionalized account of Kobayashi's training appears in a major motion picture, The Empire Strikes Secaucus (2010).
Returning to Japan, Kobi was hired by Toyota Motor Company as a production line manager. Since he was only given ten minutes for lunch, he developed his legendary speed eating technique.
Even after leaving that job, he continued to be a fast eater. So much so, he was constantly nagged by his girlfriend with comments like, "You know you should chew your food" and "Slow down! Don't you want to taste your food?" This actually spurred him to eat even faster to avoid having to hear all this. They once went out to dinner together and he was finished and gone by the time she picked up her soup spoon. In 2003, she was found still sitting in the restaurant, waiting for him to pay the bill.
Visiting Coney Island on another vacation on the Fourth of July, 2001, Kobayashi chanced upon the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. He decided to compete just to get a free lunch. Despite making rookie mistakes like stopping to pile sauerkraut on each dog, he won handily with 50 hot dogs eaten in the 12 minute time limit. The future champion glutton had doubled the previous record. He then skipped the trophy award ceremony to enter a pie eating contest nearby, which he also won. Kobi then let out a huge belch which was heard as far away as Detroit, Michigan and Atlanta, Georgia. It measured 3.4 on the standard earthquake scale.
After back-to-back wins in the next annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contests, Kobayashi branched out into other eating competitions. Pizza, burgers, lobsters in the shell, whole funnel cakes were fair game. The champion eater was often taken aside and instructed that any of the food in the venue not part of contest was to be left alone. In a competition against others and a 15-foot alligator, confused instructions led him to eat the alligator whole. Thereafter, Kobayashi was always x-rayed before contests to prove that the alligator was not still in his gut helping out in any way.
He showed his tactical abilities by waiting ten minutes before eating anything in the First World Fugu (pufferfish) Competition in 2005. While competitors loaded up on the fish full of neurotoxins, Kobayashi had only two pieces and waited for his rivals to drop dead of the poison. As pufferfish was also on the awards banquet menu, he ended up having to award himself the trophy and check. Ironically, he had a choice of entering the Chipotle burrito eating contest held at the same time and thus avoided an event with an even higher fatality rate.
One of his finest efforts came when he was challenged to eat a whole Texas-style barbecued cow against a gang of about 200 piranhas. Not only did Kobi out-eat the piranhas, but he also deftly grabbed all the piranhas and threw them to the audience as souvenirs. The surviving audience member called this "Kobayashi's finest moment".
Kobayashi has major endorsement packages from Pepto Bismol and Alka Seltzer. He does indeed use both products and in typical form, just swallows the boxes whole.
In 2013, the pro eater announced his new line of organic hot dogs. This has created a viral buzz on social media as nobody knows what they taste like. Kobayashi eats the entire production run every day.
While most of his income now comes from competition prizes, he has kept his job as Vice President of Operations for Keyser Söze International.
Meanwhile, other competitors were winning other competitions by big margins. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Virginia outclassed her female counterparts and decided to jump over to the men's competitions. That would generally happen an hour or so after her winning the women's contest. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California not only swept local contests but drove all the local all-you-can-eat places out of business in his spare time.
Now with serious competition, Kobayashi was hard-pressed to maintain his total dominance, trading wins back and forth with Chestnut in the Nathan's contest, with both raising the bar ever higher in dogs eaten. Thomas would beat TK in pizza competitions as her anchovy tolerance is unsurpassed. Things came to a head in early 2012 when all Nathan's contestants were required to join a front organization, Yummy DarkSideEmpire, so that they could be used as mules to smuggle "spice" from Arrakis, Colombia. When Kobayashi was called in to sign by someone representing himself as his father, Kobi excused himself to go to the bathroom and flushed himself to freedom. The Japanese champion was thus barred from competing in Nathan's 2012 event but did attend and was arrested by police. Kobayashi claims he spontaneously rushed to the stage to congratulate the winner while promoters say he was wearing a dynamite vest Hello Kitty T-shirt while carrying a cell phone for a trigger.
Outside of competition, the three are good friends even though they never have dinner together. No restaurant has enough food for all three at once. They co-starred in a low budget film as desperate campers who had lost their can opener to supernatural raccoons, yet still had plenty of time to take selfies. This was the hugely successful Blair Lunch Project (2009).
Kobayashi's training method is intense. He will run around the perimeter of all of Japan's major islands once a day, swimming to get from island to island. On alternate days, he will do this while juggling three to five sumo wrestlers or two Toyota Yaris autos. His cool-down regimen will usually consist of digging a skyscraper foundation with his bare hands.
He inflates weather balloons in his stomach to stretch the muscles. The champion will then starve himself for 30 days before a competition. An hour before the contest, he will smoke 4 to 5 bong loads to sharpen his appetite. The resultant mellow expression on his face will gull his competitors into thinking he can be beaten. On the contrary, he has bitten several rivals on the way to a win. He once commented, "I shouldn't be watching Mike Tyson fight videos before a match, I suppose."
After competitions, Kobayashi likes to relax by playing several video games at once at double speed while eating bags and bags of Cheetohs. So, he's just like most people, except his entire apartment is coated in glow-in-the-dark orange dust and not just the couch and game controllers. His weight will then balloon up to 90 kg (198 lbs.). The eating master will then visit a practitioner in Japanese black magic and return to his normal weight, about 60 kg (132 lbs.) Where the extra flab goes is anyone's guess, though some observers suspect links to Jonah Hill's and Steven Seagal's chubbiness turning into morbid obesity.
- ↑ still waiting for this, though
- ↑ well, maybe not
- ↑ it is that, if you like sewing machines
- ↑ this while attempting to find Muir Wood after leaving his hotel in San Francisco, California
- ↑ There is no such a person or thing. It must have been the Jersey Devil or Mothman.
- ↑ Warning! Neither brand should be consumed. They are intended to brighten up a corner of the inside of a refrigerator for a couple of months and then thrown out before they start to hatch out into gremlins.
- ↑ Sadly, no Slurpees existed then to go with the leaves.
- ↑ It didn’t stop him, however. Luckily, since food served in many hotels and convention centers is low quality and cheap to buy, the cost to promoters was minimal.
- ↑ "A man's got to know his limitations" – Harry Callahan, Magnum Force (1973)
- ↑ You try to count them, hey?
- ↑ actually, a Pepto Bismol knockoff
- ↑ not taking the high ground, but oh well.
- ↑ wuss
- ↑ Shiseido
- ↑ AKA Mr. Creosote
- ↑ Jabba the Hutt