Residents of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture were baffled last weekend by the appearance of an Unidentified Floating Object drifting serenely across the blue skies of their fair city. Initial reports spoke of a “gigantic head” with “the face of a middle-aged man.” So, what’s the story here? Is this a case of mass hysteria? Did a really ugly UFO really appear over Tochigi prefecture? Or is there a rational explanation for this baffling apparition? Join us after the jump for close-up pictures of the floating monstrosity, as well as the real reason why it took to the skies to frighten residents on a sunny Saturday afternoon!

First, here’s some close-up shots of the giant head! As you can see, it looks like a middle-aged dude with a mustache and a world-weary expression.

Somehow, a hot air balloon has been fashioned into a pretty darn good replica of the human noggin! Here’s the head being launched into the heavens by a team of specialists.

Okay, so a huge air-balloon resembling some dude’s head took to the skies of Tochigi for a serene floating session. We can accept that. The only question is, why?

Well, apparently it was all for the sake of art! The “exhibition”, organized by the Utsunomiya Museum of Art is called “The Day the Old Man’s Head Floated in the Sky”. The concept is based on a dream the artist had as a junior high school student, and the “model” for the floating face was selected from a pool of 218 candidates. A spokesperson for the museum said, “We wanted to produce something that even people who don’t make the effort to visit art museums can still see. This way, they have no option but to be exposed to art. The sky scenery also provides an excellent backdrop for the piece”.

The giant head is set to fly again on December 20, giving locals who missed the spectacle the first time around another chance to catch the “artwork” on display.

Reactions online have ranged from bewilderment to amusement, with many taking to their computers to share their thoughts on the floaty head:

“I just spat my tea all over my keyboard.”

“Creepy and cute all at the same time!”

“Looks like something out of Monty Python…”

“If I spotted this thing in the sky at night, I think I’d pee my pants for sure.”

“If someone saw this in the sky without knowing the story behind it, how freaked out would they be?!”

“Kids who saw this are gonna have some crazy dreams for sure.”

“So a kid’s dream made into reality by an adult will, in turn, become a kid’s dream! Cool, huh?”

“This is awesome! I want someone to make my childhood dreams a reality, too…”

What do you think of this “artwork”? Do you find it thought-provoking or just plain weird?

Source: Livedoor, Fashionsnap
Images:  Livedoor, Fashionsnap