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The intense competition in the Japanese snack food market means that every week some product is getting kicked off convenience store shelves to make room for another one. Somehow, though, the puffed corn snack umaibo has remained consistently popular for over 30 years.

Umaibo’s biggest fans are elementary school kids, and the tasty little cylinders were a major component of some of our writer’s childhood diets. Recently we came to the realization that it’s time for us to grow up, though. Not by giving up our umaibo, of course, but by learning to open our snacks like a man.

As always when we need meaningful life advice, we turned to our resident wise man, Mr. Sato. “Please, Mr. Sato, teach us how to look cool as we open our umaibo!” we implored him. At first we thought our pleas had fallen on deaf ears, as he continued chattering away on his phone. Being the Grand Master that his is, though, it wasn’t that Mr. Sato had rejected our request, but rather that it was so easily within the bounds of his considerable prowess that it didn’t even warrant a break in the conversation he’d been carrying on.

After finishing his power brokering phone call (and his snack), Mr. Sato gave us a few pointers on how to replicate his display of power and coordination.

First, it’s important to hold the top half of the umaibo.

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Next, cock your elbow, and swing it down as you raise your leg, contacting the bottom of the package with the portion of your thigh just above your knee.

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The key is to smack the snack like it was giving you lip. If you waver and give it a gentle tap, you won’t build up the air pressure needed to make the cylinder pop out cleanly, the package will fail to open, and you’ll just end up with a closed bag full of umaibo powder and crushed bits.

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Even armed with Mr. Sato’s hints, it still takes a while to get the exact movement and timing down. Thankfully, umaibo is cheap enough that you could pretty easily buy enough to build a house with (literally). At just 10 yen (US 9 cents) each, you can probably get all the practice supplies you need with the change you’ve got in your pocket.

Photos: RocketNews24
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