Scion Magazine 7: The Japan Issue

January 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

From Japan with Love.

No matter how often I go to Japan, I look forward to it each and every time with the same giddy anticipation I had the first time I went. Maybe it’s the vibrant automotive culture, maybe it’s the delicious dining options, or maybe it’s the eclectic fashion community; Japan has always been a source of inspiration and excitement for me. I have always wanted to do a Japan-themed issue for a number of years, but the topic was so rife with possibility that it was overwhelming. How could I share everything that I love about Japan in just one issue?

The short answer is: it wasn’t easy. Our team of writers, illustrators, photographers and designers collaborated with teams at home and abroad, met new faces and made new friends, worked around the clock and went around the world – all to share in our passion for, and fascination with, Japan. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Every story will take you on a journey, whether it’s exploring the streets of Tokyo looking for the perfect cheap and delicious meal, slipping into a pair of selvedge denim made on a hundred-year-old loom, or watching the flicker of lights on the dekotora as they brighten up the night. Our aim is not to tell fantasy travel stories, but real stories of our favourite aspects of Japanese culture and the people who comprise it. We hope reading about their dedication and warmth inspires you to take a trip of your own, to seek out the place where your own passions reside.

That’s what I love most about traveling – the fleeting magic of meeting new people, seeing new things, realizing long standing dreams, and experiencing the transcendent. What’s more, I love to collect souvenirs – to me, they’re pure memories, retaining a sliver of that magic to savour as the years go by. So consider this little (big) print book our souvenir to you, a series of stories from our time in Japan, and a snapshot of Japan as it is right now. We also understand that with some stories, seeing is believing. That is why our magazine is packed with digital extras, like videos and slideshows, all unlocked with the Layar app, to bring you that much closer.

Some say that the best way to know where you’re going is to know where you’ve come from. Here at Scion, we’re proud to call Toyota our family. We take delight in our heritage, and our connection to Japan endures. After all, each and every Scion model is manufactured there, and we’re fortunate to be able to tap into the rich history our parent company, Toyota, has of building ever better cars.

What lies ahead is as exciting as what came before. I’d like to thank you, our readers, for allowing us to create an issue dedicated to Japan. We love doing what we do, but you all make it what it is.

Domo arigato,

Lisa Marie Chen, Editor-in-Chief

To download a copy of Issue 7, click here: THE JAPAN ISSUE, or watch a video of Shingo and I exploring the streets of Japan looking for “B Kyu Gurume” below.


Throwback to Tokyo…

September 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

094A1810That’s me and my team getting settled before starting our interview with gyaru group Black Diamond inside a tiny “gal cafe” in Shibuya. Looking back, I still can’t believe that we actually did that and sooner than later you’ll be able to read all about it in the next issue of Scion Magazine. 

In the words of my favourite writer, Pico Iyer: 

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” 

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy traveling so much. The sheer joy of understanding things beyond my regular environment, the fun in learning something new, and the discomfort of sometimes never knowing what you’ll find. That last note is interesting… 

IMG_0893Above, a photo taken mere moments before I was almost carried away by a wave on Bansai Beach on the North Shore in Hawaii earlier this summer. Truth be told, I was never crazy about being in the water. But there’s something about losing my footing and the discomfort that comes with not having any control. Part terrifying, part exhilarating. And more often than not, something I seem to find when I’m out of town. 

Which reminds me that I’m overdue a trip. I think I hear Broadway calling… 


I shall call it Mini Me…

June 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Thanks to Korey and the folks at HPI Racing for making a mini xB complete with my Five Axis Design body kit.


March 4, 2014 § Leave a comment


I always find myself thinking about motivation. It seems like we’re constantly
being told that our economy sucks, that there’s no such thing as job security,
and that things may even get worse up ahead. It’s hard to find the motivation
to do anything when you’re told it’s hopeless. But it’s not hopeless. When I
look around, I see and hear so many stories of achievement, creativity, and
success. The pessimistic outlook isn’t the only one.

Within our covers are photographs of and interviews with individuals who
celebrate what’s on the inside – the beating heart that forges through any
obstacle. From a young car designer on a mission to make every vehicle on
the road unique, to a group of snowboarders always looking to find the next
NBD rail, to a photographer who wanted to capture his Scion tC in the most
intimate way possible, and to a handful of chefs that abandoned the typical
brick and mortar shop for pop-up venues or mobile kitchens.

While each of these stories is driven by something different, there’s one
common thread – they all do what they love. As cliché as that sounds,
the way these individuals get out there each and every day to do their
thing and better their craft is truly inspiring. They do what they love, and
because they love it so much, they get to do it all the time. It’s a virtuous
circle of motivation and it’s contagious. Their personal inspiration becomes
an inspiration to others, and that, I have to say, has made me even more
motivated to find stories to share with you in every issue of Scion Magazine.

Like those featured in this issue, I’m fueled by what I like to do for fun and
what I would probably do for free. Somehow, I’ve managed to make a living
doing just that, and I’ve been fortunate to live my life being just as excited
about tomorrow, as I was the day before. That kind of motivation is not found
in titles or rewards – you can only find it within yourself.

It’s what some might call intrinsic motivation: focusing on being the person
you are and channeling all of your energy and drive into being the best
possible version of yourself. Whether I’m traveling to car shows a thousand
miles away, stressing out the night before a big shoot, or even challenging
Shingo to a friendly race around the office, I maintain that inner desire to
have fun, create something new and share it with you first and foremost. It’s
the stuff of life, and I figure it’s time it had an exclusive issue of its own.

So read on, explore, learn and discover what you are most passionate about.
I’m sure it will drive you to reach your potential, if it hasn’t already. And if it
happens to include a Scion, be sure to let me know.

LISA MARIE CHEN, Editor-in-Chief

Scion Magazine Issues 4 & 5

January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Scion 4 & 5

Starting the year with a link to download our last two issues of Scion Magazine we launched in 2013. I’m off to Tokyo next week for Auto Salon so stay tuned to my instagram (@sciontist) for real time updates from the show floor.

Hello 2014.

Guu’d Morning.

March 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

I never actually posted about the time the lovely folks over at Guu invited the Scion Canada Team over for a mid-day Nomikai. Glo, Ste, Dibs and I quickly accepted and found ourselves alone in the cozy wood-decorated venue with a open view of the buzz behind the counter just hours before the line up started (actually the line had already started when we arrive but the doors weren’t open for business, the open at 5pm). Guu is my home away from my Japanese home, bringing back the authentic sights, sounds and ambiance that I’ve only seen in the land of the rising sun. The food is delicious giving comfort food new meaning. It’s also the only place in Toronto that serves up cassis oolong – a cocktail unlike any others made with a blend of cassis liqueur and unsweetened oolong tea.  From the individual bathrooms blasting old school Japanese karaoke tracks to the tiny cube windows that reiterate that you’re not in your typical Japanese Canadian restaurant, it was no surprise that the interior designer was none other than my good friend Bennett Lo of Dialogue 38.

Masaru-san is the head chef and fits the profile of a handsome star of a Japanese drama. He just informed me that the second location of Guu (in what used to be a BK on Bloor/Bathurst) is just about ready to open but is waiting on their liquor license (a key component of an izakaya).

I had a feeling that the izakaya invasion was on the horizon and I’m thrilled to see Toronto doing what it’s always done best, welcoming diversity with open arms and extreme patience while waiting for tables.

If you haven’t been yet then I’d strongly suggest that you give it a try, if only for the experience. I’d also recommend being adventurous with the daily menu offerings and try the natto if you aren’t afraid of fermented soy beans that may remind you of a runny nose. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Photography is by Stephen Ho for Scion Canada Magazine. Click to read the rest of the “Izakaya Invasion” story in Issue 1.

Thanks to Masaru-san and the rest of the Guu family for another lovely meal and making our tummies feel “Guuuuuuud” .

a diva is a female version of a hustler…

February 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thanks to the MILLIONS team for coming by to check out all of the fun behind the scenes at Scion Magazine.

Also special thanks to the team in the background: Andy Lee, Jennifer Lee, Ivy Lam, the gsus fam, and go-go-dancing squatchy aka art director Shingo Shimizu.

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