This is either an ambitious conceptual art project, the worst sort of emperor-has-no-clothes business plan, or a really rather lovely attempt to reconcile our deeply seated need to commune with the out-of-doors in a controlled and mindful way.
Welcome to Japan's Memu Earth Hotel.
The hotel may be a hotel — it has a website, nightly rates and a high season (August - October) — but the similarities pretty much end there. You get the administrative structure of a hotel without any of the physical structure: no walls, no lobby, no nothing. We return to the no walls situation: What you do get, in lieu of everything else, is a bed on a platform in a field.
Of course, it's all very elegant and thoughtful (this is Japan, after all; the field in question is on Hokkaido). And it's really not that far from what even the highest-end safari lodges offer in terms of creature comforts, usually at a premium over their regular lodging: a bed under the stars surrounded by a mosquito net, usually preceded by an afternoon watching giraffes.
But would you pay for just a bed in a field? And is this actually even camping?
Our first instinct: Why don't we just drag our own mattresses to the backyard? Well, obviously: that'd be terrible, we'd ruin our mattress and we don't even have a backyard.
So maybe ... this isn't totally ridiculous?