2007_06_eatshirt.jpgNathan's better get their beef remnants and buns ready, because Takeru 'Tsunami' Kobayashi is coming to the shores of Coney Island. At least that's what Kobayashi's manager says. If you've been following along, you know that Kobayashi, the reigning champion and six time Mustard Belt winner of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, has experienced some hiccups in his training for the July 4th competition. After one week of training, he developed jaw arthritis. Ever the competitor, Kobayashi said that he would come to honor his mother, who passed away in March.

It looks like he's coming for sure now. The Times had their Tokyo Bureau devote some resources to talk to Kobayashi's manager. They report:

Mr. Kobayashi got treatment for his jaw problems today and intends to catch a flight to the United States on Thursday. The manager said that Mr. Kobayashi intends to take part in the Nathan’s contest on July 4 and in a Pizza Hut “Dare You to Still be Hungry” eating contest on July 10.

Good thing The Times is keeping their overseas bureaus busy.

What exactly does treatment for jaw problems entail, we're not quite certain, but rest is probably one of the prescribed courses. For Kobayashi, that may not be possible with the Nathan's contest a week away and current world-record holder Joey Chestnut's impressive showing of 59 1/2 hot dogs.

While Kobayashi will certainly show up with stomach in tow, Gothamist's money is on Chestnut. There's still a question of whether all this jaw-talk is actually true or not. We'll all find out in a week.

You too can look like a pro-eater with the pictured shirt from Nathan's. It doesn't come included with a giant belly.