At first glance, the kid in this photo looks to be floating in air, and at second glance…he still looks to be floating.

One of the things that surprised me most when I first came to Japan was just how much mobility Japanese kids enjoy. The country’s extremely convenient public transportation system and extremely low crime levels mean that it’s not unusual to see even elementary school-age kids taking the train or subway by themselves on their way to and from school or an extracurricular activity.

But this photo from Japanese mother and Twitter user @nodowoyaku seems to imply that her young son has gone beyond that level of mobility, as it looks like the 16-month-old tyke has mastered the art of levitation.

@nodowoyaku works night shift, spending hours on end looking at a computer monitor, so she’s used to her eyes being dead-tired by the time she gets off work. But she figured things were worse than usual on the morning of March 4, when her son, accompanied by his grandmother, came to pick her up, and she thought she saw her son floating in the air. “That’s it, I’m done for,” @nodowoyaku despaired at the apparent loss of her visual and/or mental senses, while snapping the picture seen above.

But it turns out that @nodowoyaku’s son hadn’t actually been developing superpowers while she’s at work. Upon closer inspection, you can see that he’s wearing a pair of complexly patterned black-and-white pants which blend into the rubble-strewn pathway he’s walking on. Adding to the illusory effect is a patch of wet asphalt just a step in front of him, with an irregular shape that makes it look like it could be the shadow of the kid’s floating torso, and the fact that his shoes are so tiny as to be easily overlooked also contributes.

▼ Proof that the boy does indeed have legs

Even after getting some well-deserved rest, @nodowoyaku still says that when she looks at the photo, it’s hard for her to see it as anything other than her son levitating. Really, the photo is a good perception test, since people who look at it will fall into one of three categories: people who see a floating kid, people who see a kid with urban camouflage-style pants, and people, like one observant online commentator, who see a grandma with really smooth skin on her hands.

Source: Twitter/@nodowoyaku via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@nodowoyaku