“Oi” means “Hey” or “Hello” in Japanese. It is used to call someone in distance.
This is a real story from when I was in college.
On a summer day, I went to the beach with my friends, Tanaka and Sato.
The beach was very crowded, so we decided to drive around to find a less crowded zone.
We eventually found our spot.
It was a bit rocky part of the beach where there were just a few surfers around off the shore.
We liked how secluded it was compared to the busy side of the beach.
It felt like we found our own private beach. At least that’s how I felt at first.
We settled on the beach and started preparing floating boats and tubes.
To be honest, none of us were good swimmers so these were necessities.
We had a good time playing in the water.
The sun was nice and we had the whole beautiful beach to ourselves. It felt like a perfect day.
After a while, Tanaka went to look for bathrooms on the busy side of the beach.
I was getting tired from playing in the water, so I decided to take a break too.
I got out of the water and lied on my beach mat.
Around 10 minutes later, I was drowsing on my mat when I heard someone calling from the ocean.
I looked around to see who’s calling.
I saw a person whose shape looked like Sato a little off shore. He was waving at me and calling me.
I said, “What’s up?“
It looked like he couldn’t hear my voice. He kept calling me and waving at me.
I sighed and decided to go closer to him.
I used the floating boat and started to paddle my way to his direction.
He kept calling, “Oi”
I said, “Dude, what are you doing so far off the beach? You don’t even swim that well!”
I kept talking to him as I went closer. But all he said was the same “Oi”.
What’s wrong with him? I was starting to feel confused.
Then suddenly, it hit me “hold on… who’s that?”
I thought this guy was Sato. His body shape looked similar and there was no one else around the area but us so I didn’t think twice.
But looking from a closer distance, I noticed this was someone else.
Then I noticed this guy did not even have the floating tube that Sato would always carry in the water.
Sato would never go this deep into the ocean without a floating tube.
The guy was no longer calling me.
He was staring at me point blank with no expression on his face.
I felt a chill down my spine.
Whatever this means, it’s not good, I thought.
I quickly turned my boat around and started fluttering my legs to go back to the beach.
But the tide was too strong, it was taking me back to the shore.
I felt something grabbed my ankle.
The next moment I was pulled into the water.
I held on to my boat as tightly as I could.
But something was pulling me in deeper and deeper into the water.
Eventually, my hand let go of the boat.
I swallowed salty water, I thought I was going to die.
That’s when a surfer who happened to notice me from a distance came for rescue.
I was both out of my breath and strength.
If he had noticed a little later, I would have drowned.
The surfer pulled me up on his surfboard, and took me back to land.
As soon as we reached the land, Tanaka and Sato rushed to me with a shocked expression on their faces.
Sato: “What happened?! Are you ok?”
Tanaka: (to the surfer guy) “Thank you so much for saving my friend!!”
The surfer said “No worries. I’m glad I could save him in time. It’s just…”
The surfer: “You guys really shouldn’t be hanging out here anymore.”
When I tried to pull your friend up on my board, I saw a guy hanging on his ankle in the water.
“I don’t think it was human.”
“I was so shocked I almost let go of your friend when I saw it.“
I looked down at my ankles to find that my right ankle had been bruised in purple.
The bruise had a shape like a hand.
We left the beach immediately that day.
We later learnt the reason we were alone at that side of the beach.
Swimming in that area was prohibited due to rip current.
No locals would go there.
Everytime I hear someone say “Oi”, it still gives me chills down my spine.