Oddly Enough

U.S. charges dropped against Japanese speed-eater

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Japanese competitive eater won’t have to try jail food after all, a judge ruled on Thursday, dismissing charges against the skinny speed-feeder for crashing a hot dog eating contest.

Takeru Kobayashi, 32, was arrested on July 4 for storming the annual competition at Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters near New York City’s Coney Island amusement park.

The six-time champion had announced he would not be participating in the contest because of a dispute with organizers over which other events he would be allowed to participate in.

His archrival Joey Chestnut scooped up the $20,000 reward for ingurgitating 54 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

Judge Jacqueline Williams told Kobayashi that if he stayed out of trouble for six months, his criminal record would be purged.

“I’ve been up all night nervous about the outcome of today, so now I am thinking about what I’m going to eat,” the Nagano native told reporters outside the Brooklyn courtroom.

“I would like to eat steak,” he said, measuring an imaginary cut with his hands. “Just a normal steak.”

Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Xavier Briand