BUSAN, South Korea – 2011 saw Haps going into its second year. After months of preparation, we scrapped our crappy old website and launched the new site on January 31st.
We added new menus, a short stuff section with Local News, Sports and Life, a redesigned events page, as well as running the only regularly updated English professional sports homepages in the country.
And to do all this we reached out to as many people as we could for content. In all, Haps ran 533 stories in 2011, submitted by well over a hundred writers and photographers. We were actually surprised ourselves that we had run that much.
Admittedly, in compiling the list, we were a bit lazy — we based the selection on number of page views, which means those printed in the latter half of the year didn't make it to the Top 10. Stories such as Where to Put Your Money in Korea, Skirtroversy, The Man With The Pita Plan, Tharp On: Drinking, The Sudden Minority, Five Questions for the Marmot and Ryan Sadowski Speaks His Mind, to name but a few.
At any rate, here they are. Thanks for tuning in.
1. Nude Korean Artist Causes a Stir – Back in July, we ran a piece about Miru Kim, a Korean artist who takes nude photographs of herself posing in varied locations around the globe. Her art is acclaimed as a representation of the tenacity of life within ruin. A hat tip goes to the search engines, where thousands of people every day search "nude korean" and find their way to our site — though not likely looking for art.
2. Photo Essay: Korean Adoption – Photographer Jeanne Modderman took a compelling series of pictures about the adoption of Korean children to overseas families. The photo essay was picked up by several adoption blogs around the world, and was praised for its effort to show the human side of adoption in the country.
3. Five Questions for B.R. Myers – The Haps Five Question series has been well-received by our readers (yes, we admit it they are not actually five questions) with four of the interviews reaching the Top 10. The most read however, is Dongseo University professor and North Korean specialist, B.R. Myers. He is author of the best selling book, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why it Matters, while working as a contributing editor for The Atlantic and opinion columnist for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
4. Five Questions for Velvet Geena – Our June/July issue with Seoul rocker, Velvet Geena, on the cover gave us a chance to highlight one of Korea's more unique creative talents. The long time lead singer of the Rock Tigers spoke candidly about her role as a female rocker defying traditional mores.
5. Trick Art Optical Illusion Exhibit – Ann Jaimi Alexander submitted a piece on the Trick Art Exhibit that took place last spring in Buam-dong. So popular that the museum is now seeking out some permanent digs here in The Bu.
6. Five Questions: Mike Breen – The third person in our Five Questions series to make the list is author, columnist and head of his own Seoul-based PR firm, Mike Breen. The interview caused quite a stir in the Korean blogosphere for Breen's recounting of Samsung's $1 million dollar lawsuit against him. He also talked about his satire of the country he has called home for nearly 30 years.
7. Five Questions for "The Korean" – If you don't know who "The Korean" is, we don't blame you – nobody does. The anonymous Korean-American has been blogging about Korean issues for several years and has become one of the most popular bloggers in the Korean blogosphere with his Korean and American perspective.
8. The Vagina Monologues Return – Rose McNulty wrote about the great bunch of women who put together the Vagina Monologues. The 2012 V-Day edition will be taking place again next year at Vinyl Underground in Kyungsung April 28th and 29th, though tryouts for the performance are next week. Don't miss it.
9. The Seven Wonders of Hype – In the most recently published piece on the list, Haps editor in chief, Bobby McGill, takes a critical look at the loudly heralded news of Jeju Island being voted as one of the world's "Seven Natural Wonders of Nature" and the controversy surrounding the organization 'giving' out the awards. The story delves into qualification irregularites, as well as a recent update on how much Jeju spent on telephone bills to make the top seven wonders.
10. Shopping in Busan: The Basics - Fashionista, Christy Swain, wrote an informative article about where to go shopping around the city. For newcomers visiting the city, it is a helpful tool for anyone venturing out amongst the thousands of places to shop in Busan. And anyone who knows Christy, knows that she knows her fashion.