When she's not busy participating in hyper-colorful Japanese environmental TV shows or lodged in an East London office brainstorming on the future of the future, 32-year-old Ai Hasegawa's concerns are no different than those of any woman her age: the relentless tick-tick-ticking of her biological clock.
Another thing she's into is eating cute little animals. Yet pesky environmentalist ethics make indulging in her passion for dolphin flesh a heart-breaking no-no.
Torn between her need to give life and her concern for the uncertain fate of tasty endangered species, Ai Hasegawa has found a way of merging both: by giving birth to these animals herself. Being skeptical, I called to ask her if there was the slightest chance this idea could ever reach European shores, like dancing robots, 3D glasses, and all the other weird shit that Japanese nerds have been pumping out into the world for the last half a century.
VICE : Hello Ai. Where did this idea of giving birth to sharks come from?
Ai Hasegawa: I'm 32. It's a good age for a woman to think about giving life. But having a real child isn't that simple. You have to give them a happy life. You can't abandon them. I think simply wanting a baby isn't a good enough reason to have one.
Well, it's a good start.
We're soon going to be facing a global food shortage crisis. How on earth are we going to feed new humans? But I still want to give life, I don't want 30 years of painful menstruation to have all been in vain. And I want to eat good meat.
Is Carrying the fetus of another species technically even possible?
It will be, in the near future. A human uterus is just the right size to hold one fetus. I've been speaking to a gynaecologist about ways of making it bigger. I believe humans could use their uterus as an aquarium or incubator.
Wouldn't there be compatibility issues between a human placenta and a shark's?
The placenta comes from the fetus, not the mother, meaning there's no need to modify human DNA. I've been assured that it should be possible to create "dolph-human" or "shark-human" placentas just by modifying the animal's DNA. I'm still doing the research, but sharks seem to be the most compatible. And as a species, sharks fit all my criteria: They're endangered, their life-span is almost as long as that of a human, and most importantly, they're delicious.
Do you think women will accept carrying animal fetuses?
Carrying a shark fetus inside your uterus means you have to stop menstruating. But the medication for that has very unpleasant side-effects. I think the ideal carrier profile would be a rich, single, and above all menopausal woman.
And what are the advantages of doing this?
We don't need any more humans, there are too many already as it is. Mostly, it's a way of preserving endangered species.
And it would be a new way of producing food. Because you could eat the shark baby after it came out. Which is a totally logical thing to do.
Exactly! And you would no longer feel the guilt of eating another animal. It's also less costly than raising a human, and there are fewer responsibilities. I find it less terrifying than adopting a child you might end up not loving.
Which animal would be the most dangerous to carry?
The elephant, because of its size.
OK, and the coolest?
The simplest would be the chimpanzee, because its DNA is the closest to ours. But I'm not interested in chimps, because I don't eat monkey. Personally, I'd love to give birth to a Maui dolphin. They're super cute and smart, we could easily communicate, and they're very loveable. It would be great to swim with them out at sea. Besides, I love a good piece of dolphin meat on my plate, but every time I feel bad for eating an endangered animal.
Ah. I thought you'd choose a shark.
I love sharks, too. They're almost as intelligent as dolphins. My favorite kind of shark is the zebra shark. They're sort of roundish and have the cutest little faces—kind of like a puppy!
Would people actually agree to eat meat that came out of a woman's insides, do you think?
Yes. After all, there are some animals who eat their own babies. And we do eat veal, which comes from inside a cow. We even kill people, not even for food, and they too come out of somebody's womb. I really don't see the problem.
Do you think these animals will taste better?
I think you'd have to let them back into the wild for some time in order for them to taste just like the ones we're used to.
That makes sense. Would you eat a dolphin you've given birth to?
I would once it's dead. Ideally, I'd be able to track its whereabouts with a GPS. And once it's sold on the markets, I'd buy it and eat it. That way I would have it back inside my body one last time.
You certainly seem to have thought it through. Thanks, Ai!
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