Fictional giant lizard Godzilla, famous for being a walking metaphor for nuclear destruction and making people run away from him in terror, has been tasked with welcoming foreign tourists to Japan's capital. Yesterday the central Shinjuku ward of Tokyo officially named the creature their tourism ambassador. "Godzilla is a character that is the pride of Japan," Shinjuki major Kenichi Yoshizumi said during an unveiling ceremony of a giant Godzilla sculpture at the headquarters of Toho studios.
"Tourism ambassador" is a job I didn't even know existed before 2014. How many tourism ambassadors can you name? Probably just one, and her name is Taylor Swift, pop princess and BFF to the world. Swift was named tourism ambassador of New York City last year; her chief credentials being the hashtag-ready 1989 municipal anti-anthem "Welcome to New York" and having paid for a $20 million Tribeca loft in I'm assuming cash and sugar cookies. Aside from that, it wasn't too clear how aspiring tourism ambassadors the world over who weren't lucky enough to be Taylor Swift could hope to beef up their resumes.
But Godzilla's new gig is helpful. Between him and Taylor, it's now pretty clear how exactly someone graduates from being a mere icon to tourism ambassador.
Be a tourist yourself
A tourism ambassador should be the resident of the city he or she represents no more than one year, in addition to making periodic visits to walk around while being photographed.
Be willing to air your beefs in front of millions of onlookers
A tourism ambassador should have zero qualms about making their drama the world's drama.
Capacity to form strategic alliances with market competitors
If you can't beat them, absorb them into your international BFF network.
Already be a potent metaphor for current anxieties; nuclear, artistic, racial or otherwise
The only thing that can truly keep a tourism ambassador in power is a steady stream of thinkpieces.
RECOMMENDED BUT NOT NECESSARY: Controversial dancing skills
In summary, if you are a universally recognized cultural touchstone who is simultaneously terrifying, annoying, and super cute, it's time to head straight to the Chamber of Commerce of the next city you feel like invading and tell them you'd like to be their tourism ambassador.