Proving that he's both more gluttonous and more motivated than you, competetive eating legend Takeru Kobayashi recently released his own line of six weiner-tinged tees, with designs ranging from a hot dog pyramid atop the Rising Sun, to his own floating head eating crumpled paper ("Kobayashi Ate My Homework"). During a recent visit stateside, the Dog Star stopped in to discuss men who sweat meat, and the women who love them:
How'd you get the impulse to get into fashion?
I'm really happy that people are wearing my stuff, that's the simple answer.
What level of involvement did you have in designing the shirts?
Have you ever eaten someone's homework, and did the teacher buy their excuse?
(Laughs) In Japan, we don't really have the saying, actually. It's very interesting to me. I always went to school without doing my homework, so if I lived in the United States, I would probably be saying this every day: I ate my own homework.
Do you ever casually enjoy a hot dog?
Yes, I do.
What do you put on it?
Ketchup and mustard.
Do you have a favorite brand?
(Laughs) Most people call me the Hot Dog King, but I can't answer your question until I try all of the different hot dogs.
Do you ever have to puke after contests?
One of my very first contests, in 20 minutes I had to eat 5 kilos (11 pounds) of curry rice. After they made the judgement that I had eaten it, I immediately went and there was a bucket ready for me, as soon as they called ok, I went bleehhhhh, into the bucket. It's kind of watery, soupy, it doesn't stop, it all comes out. In 15 seconds, almost six pounds had gone into the bucket.
Especially on the competitive eating circuit, you're known as a pretty fit guy. What do you bench press?
I injured my jaw last year, and when I lift weights I grind my teeth extensively, so I have not trained since last year. When I was at my peak, I benched 190 kilos (419lbs). But I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now.
You've previously commented on how eating so much meat leaves you smelling not-so-fresh. How long does your sweat reek of meat after a competition?
Immediately after, you smell. After a while you can't even tell, you just live with it. But when you go to the bathroom, and what comes out of you is white, that probably means there is still something in the body, it's probably the fat from the meat. It really is white, not like your t-shirt, but it's pretty white.
How long after a competition do you end up holding on to your food?
The white goes away within 2 days. Because I don't really chew very well when I'm eating the hot dogs, sometimes, the actual sausage comes out. Actual, actual sausage. Of course, if you eat 60 hot dogs, they're not going to all come out as they are, but one hot dog, it will come out like that. There's no digestion. I'm back to my physical condition in about three days.
Are there competitive eating groupies, and are they good looking?
The girls do come all the way from Japan to come see me. And yes, they are quite good looking.