Unlike Murakami's chilling psychological thrillers, this is a lighthearted semi-autobiographical account of a 17-year-old Murakami growing up in 1969 Sasebo, Japan. It's a coming of age story about getting one up over the Greasers and the Kendo team, rocking the school, and, of course, getting the girl.
First published in 1987, the '60s culture references come think and fast, and can be confusing to readers who weren't there at the time. It's like a Japanese version of Greece.
"If everyone could feel as I felt at that moment, dressed in my preppy sweater and McGreagor coat and about to set out on a little journey with my Bambi-eyed girlfriend on Christmas Eve, all the conflicts in the world would vanish. Mellow smiles would rule the earth."
The 2004 film adaption by Sang-il Lee seems impossible to find. A Japanese coming of age film I fully recommend [warning: it has no plot and is very arty] is: All About Liliy Chiu Chiu All About Lily Chou-Chou [DVD]