Pikachu - the world's most famous Pocket Monster - has been made a Cultural Ambassador for the City of Osaka. No, you're not dreaming.
Foreign Minister of Japan Tarō Kōno presented Pikachu with the position at a ceremony recently. Hello Kitty (but of course!) was also given the same role.
The two characters have been enlisted to assist in strengthening Osaka's claim for the 2025 World Expo, and will be joined by Club de Fútbol Pachuca player Keisuke Honda and Kyoto University professor (and 2012 Nobel Prize winner) Shinya Yamanaka, both of whom must be feeling pretty intimidated by the incredible merchandising power and plush softness of their fellow ambassadors.
World Expos are held every five years, with the next one taking place in Dubai in 2020. Saclay in the suburbs of Paris, Yekaterinburg in Russia and the Azerbaijan capital of Baku are the other contenders to host the 2025 event, but none of them are able to call upon the immense adorability of Pikachu and Hello Kitty, so we assume it will only be a matter of time before they do the sensible thing and announce they are stepping out of the running.
Never change, Japan.