Men in blue captivate audience in colorful Saudi festival show

The Blue Man Group. (File photo)
Updated 16 July 2019

Men in blue captivate audience in colorful Saudi festival show

  • Group performing as part of the Jeddah Season of events for the third time

JEDDAH: The captivating Blue Man Group rocked a Saudi festival audience with a high-octane show that won a standing ovation.

Performing in the Kingdom for the third time, the three bald, blue men wowed fans by taking them on a spectacular, fun-filled, music-laced journey of discovery.

More than 35 million people of all ages, languages and cultures in 25 countries have experienced the unexpected, madcap antics of the Blue Man Group and the colorful entertainers had an awestruck Saudi audience clapping for more.

The show was organized by the General Entertainment Authority as part of the Jeddah Season.

Backed by other musicians, the trio’s powerful drum show began with two of the blue men competing to create a work of art by spraying paint from their mouths.

The interactive display saw the performers engaging with fans in a variety of fun, dynamic ways including eating Twinkies and painting on a canvas. They even shone a spotlight on late arrivals to the venue, singing: “You are late, you were supposed to be here 20 minutes ago.”

Part of the group’s “Speechless” tour, the family show’s mix of music, color and humor left the Jeddah Season audience buzzing.

“We loved it. It was unique and captivating,” Saudi student, Mariam Ahmed, 22, told Arab News. “This was my first time attending the show and honestly, if you haven’t seen them before nothing can prepare you for what you are going to see in the show.”

Father-of-two Yuzreza, from Brunei, said: “It is our first event and now, after seeing this, we are planning to see a few other events in the season. The children especially enjoyed it.”

The Blue Man Group has been running for 25 years, and according to its publicity its 70 performers around the world splash their way through 18,000 buckets of paint a year and have broken 23,000 drumsticks.


Japanese bidet makers flush with post-coronavirus opportunities

Updated 04 April 2020

Japanese bidet makers flush with post-coronavirus opportunities

  • Long a fixture in Arab and Asian toilets, the device is now getting a second look in US and Europe
  • Modern-day models have functions such as seat warmers and controls for water temperature

DUBAI/TOKYO: As supermarkets in the West struggle to keep rolls of toilet paper on their shelves, Japanese people do not have to worry about disappearing toilet rolls, as they have something superior: the Washlet.

Just as bidets are popular in the Arab world, shower-toilets such as the Washlet from Japan are in a league of their own.

With such functions as seat warmers, deodorizer to even air dryers, the popular Japanese company Toto creates luxury toilets that have become a staple of Asian homes, restaurants and public buildings.

Toto introduced the first electric toilet with an integrated bidet, the Washlet, in Japan in 1980.

The Japanese company, which was founded in 1917, prides itself on its commitment to improving the environment by creating sustainable toilets that include water-saving features such as eco-friendly flushes.

There is also a unique option in some of Toto’s bidets: Flushing sounds or even music that can cover up embarrassing noises when people do their business.

Washlets have many options in its latest products, including controls for water temperature and jet stream power and direction.

Customers have a choice of speedy and soft jet streams.

Most Washlets have two jets, one for men and one for women. A control panel at the bottom makes the seat easily maneuverable. But advanced Washlets have a control panel at the wall so a user can relax while doing their business.

Toto’s most expensive toilet is the Neorest 750H, which costs over $13,000, according to the official website.

The popular toilet includes an automatic lid that opens or closes when one approaches, an adjustable spray position, a multifunctional wall-mounted remote control and an air-purifying system along with a Bluetooth connectivity to play one’s favorite tracks.

The Washlet even has its own museum. The Toto museum, located in Tokyo, showcases the history and evolution of the bidet in order to pass on the “corporate values to future generations.”

The Toto museum in Tokyo, Japan. (Courtesy: https://jp.toto.com)

According to the official Toto Museum website, which showcases the culture and history of plumbing equipment, the company “hopes the museum provides visitors an opportunity to learn about the philosophy behind TOTO Manufacturing and how products have developed.”

Toto has several showrooms around the Middle East, including multiple in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.

The company also has a showroom in San Francisco. However, while the Western world is aware of these smart hygienic products, their own habits have yet to grow accustomed.

Other big names in the toilet market include Inax and Toshiba. Prices range from about $175 at discount stores to about $325, although an expensive model can cost more than $400.

Japanese-style bidets are enjoying a spurt in popularity owing to toilet-paper shortages in Western countries resulting from panic shopping amid the coronavirus public-health emergency.

At the same time, production has reportedly hit a snag. Nikkei xTECH has reported delays of parts from China, where the first major coronavirus outbreak occurred, amid disruptions in the chain of business.

Suppliers have also not been able to keep up with increased demand from manufacturers trying to stock up on parts they fear may be difficult to obtain moving forward.