Thank you to everyone for your questions - the good, the bad and the ugly! It seems one was overwhelming, so I thoughts I'd address it right away with this intro video. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'll be posting a few more video responses and will stick around for about 45 minutes and answer your questions by text in this thread as well.

UPDATE: Thank you everyone for an incredible day. 45 minutes turned out to be a lot longer.

Video answers (sorry for the quality)...

Part 1. Part 2.

Comments: 900 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

jenchan13528 karma

I'm not gay, I'm Japanese.

Ha! cute and funny. I think we have a winner.

TakeruKobayashi617 karma

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

jenchan13458 karma

There is nothing wrong with that. You keep being sexy and shoving wieners in your face.

TakeruKobayashi837 karma

Thank you. I may not be gay, but I believe in supporting all people and all communities.

TakeruKobayashi290 karma

We'll transcribe after we are done answering, but here is the first set of questions. Answers can be found here.

qyll: You're on a death row and about to be executed. What's your last meal?

Mr_A 999: How long does it take to recover from an event? Do you digest all the food… If you do digest, I imagine its not very comfortable, so how long does it take to return your body to an equilibrium?

myth1n: What was the hardest item you've had to eat in a contest thus far? (hard meaning difficult, not physically hard).

HideousInfant: How much does flavor impact your performance? Is there any food that you have difficulty eating due to your distaste for it?

Follow up on taste and texture…

Itzslim: How do you prepare for a competition? Is it better to eat a lot before hand, or to practically starve?

Firstinthesea: Do you regret being arrested? Do you have any hard feelings towards Nathan's and how they treated you before and after your arrest? And what upcoming events are you training for (if there are any coming up)?

trivial_sublime589 karma

Not an exact transcription, but this is for people who can't watch the video right now while we wait for the official transcript. His translators were using "he" and "him" so I replaced those pronouns with "I" and "me" for ease of reading and brevity.

  • qyll: You're on a death row and about to be executed. What's your last meal?

I would love to eat a steak very slowly, using a knife and fork, savoring and enjoying it.

  • Mr_A 999: How long does it take to recover from an event? Do you digest all the food… If you do digest, I imagine its not very comfortable, so how long does it take to return your body to an equilibrium?

It depends on the food... But if I have four days, I can finish anything... It was very interesting was the other day when I broke the turkey record, as it took a long time to digest.

  • myth1n: What was the hardest item you've had to eat in a contest thus far? (hard meaning difficult, not physically hard).

Cow brains. It wasn't that it was the most difficult, but it was the most dangerous. The way it looks, the way, it tastes, and the way it smells is horrible.

  • HideousInfant: How much does flavor impact your performance? Is there any food that you have difficulty eating due to your distaste for it?

If you focus too much on the taste, you know you are not completely there, you begin to taste the item more. If I'm completely focused, I'm able to not taste it. When in my best form is when I don't remember what it tastes like. Sometimes when I've tasted the food, I'm in bad form, and I become nauseated by the smell and taste. Furthermore, I always like to keep things warm, so if I drink water, I make sure its warm. If I drink cold things, my stomach retracts, which doesn't allow it to stretch. For instance, if I'm trying to put ten pounds of something in my body, and it is cold, my body will become cold and it will start shaking.

  • Itzslim: How do you prepare for a competition? Is it better to eat a lot before hand, or to practically starve?

It's not important to be completely hungry, but it's important to not have too much in the stomach and in the intestine. That's the only concern. My focus is to not be completely hungry or starving.

  • Firstinthesea: Do you regret being arrested? Do you have any hard feelings towards Nathan's and how they treated you before and after your arrest? And what upcoming events are you training for (if there are any coming up)?

The only thing I can say in the sense of remorse is that I only feel sad or apologetic to the fans that came on that day and hoped to see me eat onstage, as I feel like I let them down that day. In the sense of regret, I have none, because of the chances and opportunities that came to me because of that. The fact that I'm able to speak to you today on Reddit came about because of the arrest. Also, because there was nothing at all planned about things that were going to happen, I have no way of regretting it. It wasn't intentional. It was all by chance that that happened. I was there because Ineeded to go but also because the fans that were screaming "let him eat let him eat" and before you know it I was so excited by those fans and my feet were onstage and I was there... It was really such a surprising moment, that how can I regret it?

TakeruKobayashi251 karma

Thank you for this.

IMasturbateToMyself48 karma

Any background on the arrest?

edit: after googling a bit I still can't find the exact reason on why he was arrested.

TakeruKobayashi114 karma

Good thought.. I don't know either. All the charges were even dropped instantly by the judge. Even the security guards ushered me to the stage when they saw me, because they knew me from competing every year. They were like, "Hey Kobi! this way!" (of course they didn't know my situation with the organization, but I had a good relationship with all those people).. As soon as I was on stage, whoever told the police to arrest me. I may have gotten excited and ran on stage, but I see no reason for having been arrested.

TakeruKobayashi139 karma

Here is Part 2: Coney Island, contracts, bowel movements and bears.

blobbohen115 karma

Have you ever gone into an out-of-control hot dog feeding frenzy and had to be restrained by friends and family from eating all of their hot dogs?

TakeruKobayashi327 karma

Only on July 4.

Jizzaldo93 karma

How big was the biggest shit you've ever taken? Pics?

TakeruKobayashi251 karma

I will answer bowel movement questions in next video.

UrusaiNa90 karma

Have you every picked up a girl thanks to your talent as a competitive eater? ;-)

TakeruKobayashi173 karma

I was actually a star on television in Japan due to the talent and I got ranked as the top most popular guy in a Japansese magazine. So maybe due to the popularity of being a competitive eater. Frm my experience competitive eaters arent horribly thought of by women.

BlueMunky89 karma

I'm thinking about grabbing lunch, but I'm not sure what to get. Any suggestions?

TakeruKobayashi406 karma

Since I am preparing for Wing Bowl in Philadelphia, how about a cheesesteak? 10 of them.

MoreOvaltinePlz99 karma

You should try the Philly Taco! It's a Jim's cheesesteak wrapped in a slice of Lorenzo's pizza with a soft pretzel on the inside. Or maybe you want to try five.

TakeruKobayashi185 karma

Are you from Philly? I will be there training at the end of the month. I am always looking for local challenges - food and people!

MoreOvaltinePlz54 karma

I am from Philly! The Wing Bowl is a great event. Is this your first time competing there?

TakeruKobayashi91 karma

My first year competing. I was there last year with Flyer Bernie Parent to do a demonstration and kick off the event.

TakeruKobayashi84 karma

Thank you for everyone's time.. I was totally surprised at how much I was enjoying speaking with all of you, and found myself here for many hours. It has been great, but I am now ready for dinner. Pleasant Dinner Wishes & "Bon Apetit" to ALL !!

Takeru Kobayashi

[deleted]83 karma

Thanks for taking time to do this!

TakeruKobayashi153 karma

The response has been amazing. It is my pleasure.

roflbbq73 karma

It's because you're a badass.

TakeruKobayashi79 karma

Thank you!

Satogkit65 karma

I won a Philly Cheesesteak eating contest at a local bar and earned one free every day for a year! You were my inspiration! What food could you eat every day without getting tired of?

TakeruKobayashi113 karma

Thank you. And good luck! Answered above. Yogurt.

Blartt61 karma

You sir are a god amongst men, your stomach should be preserved and your will bestowed upon kings

TakeruKobayashi73 karma

Thank you!

pbars258 karma

What are your feelings with Joey Chestnut?

TakeruKobayashi124 karma

Well, I have competed against him many times in the past, and because of his challenge I've had a lot of fun. Now that I think about it, I guess I am very grateful for that.

Cynoks56 karma

I saw you walking around at Brat Days in Sheboygan WI. What did you think of our humble little festival? Also do you like Brats(Bratwurst) or Hot Dogs better?

TakeruKobayashi93 karma

I loved that town! I even think Id like to go back even if it has nothing to do with a contest. I only have good memories of that town.

I like brats and dogs for different reasons. I see them as completely different things.

[deleted]53 karma

Not sure if this was asked in the previous thread, but...

How do you think competitive eating will affect your health later in life? Is this something you think about often?

TakeruKobayashi126 karma

When I decided to do this as a profession, and even now I have always thought about future effects. My concern is that I always worry about cancer of the throat, esophagus or stomach. I think this profession makes me a higher risk of those things. I worry about it in a very serious way. Because of these worries, I don't go out and enter a ton of contests, I am very selective and only eats that way when in training for those contests. In regular life I eat very healthy and in moderate amounts. It is also very important that I exercise.

BoxOLuv52 karma

I remember watching you on the MTV show True Life, along with the televised eating competitions. You mentioned your stomach is lower than most people and this allows your to put more inside your stomach as it expands upwards. Have you ever been medically examined? Does your TMJ effect your eating now?

TakeruKobayashi97 karma

The stomach condition is true. I have been checked not on a serious level. I have had a camera put down in my stomach before. When they put it inside, just the camera touching the inside of my stomach stretched it and it surprised the doctors because of the elasticity.

Regarding the TMJ. Right before a contest one year, my jaw just wouldn't open. If I use my jaw too much in general, it become painful. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning it is jammed together. It's just difficult.

watwotwatwot32 karma

My mother suffers from TMJ and it can be very, very painful. I am glad you are able to manage and still live out your dream!

TakeruKobayashi50 karma

Thank you. It can be very painful. I also hope for your mother to not have to suffer from this condition.

platipress17 karma

Do you do anything to treat the TMJ issue? I know people have had success with massage therapy.

TakeruKobayashi27 karma

I do the same. I massage my jaw sometimes, especially in the morning when my jaw is not in good condition. I have a doctor who I see in Japan, but since moving here I do not see him often; only when I go back.

kinkyslinky47 karma

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

TakeruKobayashi116 karma

Believe it or not yogurt. I really do love it. Sometimes I'll go a whole day just trying tons of different kinds. I also love tofu, but if I had to eat it everyday, it'd be yogurt.

imakepeopleangry48 karma

You should watch Burn Notice.

TakeruKobayashi58 karma

I dont watch much TV

DonaldMcRonald42 karma

Have you tried soy yogurt?

TakeruKobayashi67 karma

Never. Should I?

DonaldMcRonald98 karma

Well, if you like tofu and yogurt....

TakeruKobayashi49 karma

I will try it for sure. Thank you.

xenonscreams47 karma

So you've confirmed that you are not gay, but you haven't confirmed whether or not you are taken. Super curious if you have a girlfriend or wife.

TakeruKobayashi136 karma

I have a special someone, yes.

iTz_PoPo40 karma

Favorite toppings on a hotdog?

TakeruKobayashi202 karma

Basic mustard and ketchup. It's not just for the taste, but it's so pop looking having the red and yellow stripe on it.

teemell1938 karma

You're awesome

TakeruKobayashi138 karma

Thank you. You are awesome, too.

n1zm038 karma

what is your favorite homecooked food from your childhood?

TakeruKobayashi112 karma

potato croquette: deep fried smashed potato - with corned beef inside. my mother made it amazing when I was a kid.

Tropikal38 karma

How did you discover your ability to eat so much food?

TakeruKobayashi100 karma

I was a university student and eating with a friend at a fast food curry shop. There was a challenge menu to eat a certain amount of curry. I did it and ate 5,100 grams (11lb 4 oz). I sort of knew I could eat alot, but that was when I really knew I had this absurd talent.

TakeruKobayashi54 karma

Eating with friends at University.

bigwave38 karma

I showed a video of you to elementary kids in Kochi prefecture last year. They were very impressed.

TakeruKobayashi75 karma

Thank you very much. That is a very cozy feeling.

[deleted]37 karma

You're not fat. How come?

TakeruKobayashi112 karma

Simply because I eat very healthy and I exercise all the time.

zoidbort34 karma

How often do you work out?

TakeruKobayashi74 karma

About 3 times a week.

youdownwithop35 karma

What is a typical meal for you like?

TakeruKobayashi81 karma

The amount is usually not more than an average American's meal. I always try different things, but most of my meals always contains a meat, a small amount of carbs and a lot of vegetables. It's difficult to explain, but if you look on my website under the food section, I photograph most of my meals and post them.

unknownfy2435 karma

Do you have another job outside of competitive eating?

TakeruKobayashi150 karma

No. This is my only occupation. What I do for a living is not just contests, but to do this professionally it's talking about eating on a cultural level. I do demonstrations, I talk at seminars. Being a professional eater is more than contests. But if you want to offer me a really good job though, I am open to offers.

sharked30 karma

Are there cheaters in competitive eating?

Do you take any kind of nutritional supplements to strengthen your digestion? (probiotics, Betaine HCL, etc)


TakeruKobayashi50 karma

Yes, I think there are a lot of cheaters. I take a lot of supplements, but none specifically for digestion. If anyone can recommend them, I am always interested in learning if there is anything good for that.

TakeruKobayashi39 karma


4Eights30 karma

I remember seeing you a few years back on a television show. It said you had problems training for hot dog competitions in Japan because you couldn't find traditional american hot dogs. Have you since found a way to train more effectively at home?

TakeruKobayashi60 karma

You're right. I did have problems in Japan not being able to find the traditional hot dog Americans eat, that are in the contests. I moved to NY recently, so now I have access to all the hot dogs I want to try.

sevaaa30 karma

Have you tried Gray's Papaya? and if so, how delicious are they on a scale of 1 to 50

TakeruKobayashi48 karma

I have. About 35 I would say. Better than average.

zoidbort29 karma

Seeing as it is your job to eat, do you ever get sick of it? Have you grown to hate any foods that you previously loved?

TakeruKobayashi70 karma

Actually, because of competitive eating, I have actually learned to love many foods because of this. Ones in places I would have never been to and dishes I wouldnt have tried if not for competition. Hot dogs is an example. I always thought they were salty, but now sometimes I will have a craving. I do not eat hot dogs all the time because they are not healthy, but that's an example of one I came to like every now and then.

TakeruKobayashi57 karma

I am really through with cow brains. But there is nothing that I used to love that I stopped liking.

Mrubuto28 karma

you'll probably never see this, but this has been my favourite AMA. You are a really cool guy.

TakeruKobayashi60 karma

I DO see this! Thank you SO much!!

DoubleSeven25 karma


TakeruKobayashi59 karma

It's easy to judge, all the same food at the same size and weight.. not including chicken wings. I ate bananas for an appearance for Nintendo- Donkey Kong new game in Canada last year.

a4and2B20 karma

There would be potential for potassium poisoning with eating a large quantity of banana's.

TakeruKobayashi30 karma

You are right. A person would have to be careful about this. Caution.

picz24 karma

You sound sexy when you speak English

TakeruKobayashi32 karma

Thank you so much.

youlikedajuice23 karma

Have you ever considered competing in Iron Chef? Something tells me that you're a really great cook.. I bet that you could beat Chef Masaharu Morimoto

TakeruKobayashi85 karma

Id love to be on that program and I am always up for any challenge. If they wont have me as a chef, Im happy to be judge. I would love to see if Morimotosan could cook something that would blow me away.

schoofer20 karma

Is there any food you can't stomach?

TakeruKobayashi47 karma

Cockroaches and the like. There are places and contests that do that.

underscorex19 karma

I can safely say, having done one competitive eating regional and bombing out halfway through trying not to puke, what you do is a testament to the human spirit.

The level between "eating a lot" and "eating competitive" is insane. Hey, how was it to do that "man vs. animal" show where you fought a bear? Were you actually in the room with the bear?

TakeruKobayashi33 karma

I answer bear related questions in next video!

needsmoreshutup18 karma

If you don't mind answering, how is in the toilet after the competitions? Do you only break records or toilet pots too, is what I'm asking.

TakeruKobayashi38 karma

I will answer in video.

lookitzpancakes15 karma

Thanks for doing this!! Do you purge at the end of a competition?

TakeruKobayashi48 karma

I don't really ever get sick during competitions, so I really don't purge.

One-Two-Woop-Woop14 karma

What do you plan to do after you retire from competitive eating? What is your dream job after this one?

TakeruKobayashi39 karma

I plan to do something that has to do with eating, specifically making people happy through food. There are so many occupations that can make that possible. It's not just about eating food.

CVN7217 karma

How are you in the kitchen? Any cooking talent?

TakeruKobayashi24 karma

I'm not sure if I'm talented although I'd love to take a cooking class to learn basics.. but I cook simple things for myself. Wish I knew more about it.

Domoshi14 karma

Who is your favorite Japanese singer?

TakeruKobayashi31 karma

There is a Japanese band called the Blue Heart that I love.

papsmearcampaign14 karma

I thought the hot dog eating contest with the bear on Man vs Beast was great. Do you think you could beat him if given the chance again?

*for anyone that hasn't seen it

TakeruKobayashi20 karma

Thank you! Yes, I believe I could beat the bear now. . I'm stronger than I was then. I would like to have the opportunity for that challenge again.

[deleted]11 karma

What's your favorite non-competitive food?

TakeruKobayashi27 karma

tofu & yogurt

Setheron8 karma

I sometimes see really crazy pictures of your stomach after a competitive eating competition. Can you post the most crazy one? (The ones where your muscles are like protruding everywhere to make room for your stomach)

TakeruKobayashi23 karma

I just posted a good photo of my stomach after competition on my facebook page. you can go there and take a look!

Bored7 karma

What made you realize you should start competitive eating?

TakeruKobayashi20 karma

When I started winning very early, I realized I could probably make a living from it.

Leviathan2496 karma

When did you discover you had this "power"? Also, keep up the good work.

TakeruKobayashi24 karma

In university a friend called the big competitive eating show without me knowing and said i could beat them.

Really_Likes_Nutella6 karma

How do you get past that 'full' feeling? I have it every day and can't eat much so I imagine it's a massive problem for you.

TakeruKobayashi11 karma

It's difficult to feel full if your stomach is large like mine. You must have a small stomach. Oily food and things with stronge taste have distinct smells which can also make a person feel full.

dheisman5 karma

Was it a big culture shock moving from Japan to New York? As a side note, your English is very good!

TakeruKobayashi13 karma

I actually didnt have much culture shock at the very beginning because I had been coming once a year for a very long time. After being here for a while I had what I call 'reverse culture shock' where I started becoming more aware of things around me - like for instance the differences between the US and Japan's public transportation. But then there are things that are very positive and good - like people on the street stopping to help. So it's more about awareness than shock.

About my English being good, it makes me feel great. I have never spoken at length on a video like that before, so it was a big challenge.

FlyingDrone4 karma

How do you recover from a competiton? Do you not eat for several days after or just very lightly? Do you workout/exercise a lot in the days following competition?

TakeruKobayashi11 karma

I still eat normally after competition, but I also just rest a whole lot.