I first saw James through his WeChat picture: a happy, father-like, curly haired man with thick eyebrows and a heavy mustache, lovingly holding a kid with a skateboard.
When I met the real James, he told me he was not a father at all, just a coach enjoying teaching kids how to ride skateboards. The coach has his own company in the West Bund area, and also designs skateboards and skating areas sometimes. “I designed the skateboard practice area downstairs by myself," he told me proudly.
We did the interview on the second floor of James’ company, where dozens of skateboards for sale are on display.
James shared with me some special ways of enjoying a strange city, and he even gave me a crash course on how to ride a skateboard.
Then our talk started just where you thought it would: skateboards. He said he was not a professional athlete, but he has been a coach of many different sports, and he has played many different sports in his lifetime, so it means that he had a lot of coaches to learn from.
He travelled to many different places, including China. He came to China not knowing much of anything about China. Now he knows quite a lot about China. He has been to probably 20 different cities in China like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xiamen among others. His next goal would be Chengdu. The city is very delicious — everyone talks about the food in Chengdu.