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International student’s comical take on “cryptic” Canada goes viral

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As Canadian federal election results rolled in Monday night, an international student in Toronto was tweeting his observations of Canada — a country that he says “feels like America, but something is fundamentally off.”

By Wednesday, the Twitter thread by Shoji Ushiyama, who goes by the pseudonym Kavaeric online, had been praised and retweeted by journalists from Canadian media such as the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and the National Post and commented on by one internationally acclaimed author.

It all began with the 21-year-old industrial design student was messaging his friend in Calgary from his apartment in Toronto during the elections. They started talking about how he had never been to Edmonton and this lead Ushiyama to jokingly question if Edmonton was, in fact, a real place.

Soon more observations came to mind.

And they just kept coming to me and before long I have written a gargantuan thread,” Ushiyama told CIC News. “Each of these tweets that I wrote in the thread, aside from the one about Saskatchewan … they are all based on real-life experiences I had living as an immigrant here.”

From there the 101 tweets cover the absurdities of Canadian life from coast to coast to coast.

Though he has only been to B.C., Alberta, and Ontario, he used common stereotypes to spin his view of other provinces.

As to Alberta…

Many of the tweets pertain to experiences unique to Toronto where Ushiyama lives, and plans to stay. Here he refers to the seemingly non-stop construction of new office buildings and condominiums in Ontario’s capital city.

He also touches on his experiences with locals, the quirks of Canadian English, and trying poutine for the first time. Many who live in Canada or who have been to Canada will understand the references he makes to Canadian franchises and culture.

The thread also caught the eye of author Neil Gaiman, though, as Ushiyama admitted on Twitter, he had never heard of the literary superstar before then.

Canadian journalists such as Peter Scowen, Rebecca Tucker and Terry Glavin also commended his work online and the National Post published a feature on him.

Ushiyama said since the thread went viral he has received a mixed bag of compliments, media requests, and some messages from people who didn’t get the joke.

“On Twitter people think I imagine myself as some kind of expert on Canada, but that’s the joke,” Ushiyama said.

“The joke is that I don’t know anything about Canada.”

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