Murakami began writing fiction when he was 29. “Before that”, he said, “I didn’t write anything. I was just one of those ordinary people. I was running a jazz club, and I didn’t create anything at all.” He was inspired to write his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing (1979), while watching a baseball game. In 1978, Murakami was in Jingu Stadium watching a game between the Yakult Swallows and the Hiroshima Carp when Dave Hilton, an American, came to bat. According to an oft-repeated story, in the instant that Hilton hit a double, Murakami suddenly realized that he could write a novel. He went home and began writing that night. Murakami worked on Hear the Wind Sing for several months in very brief stretches after working days at the bar. He completed the novel and sent it to the only literary contest that would accept a work of that length, winning first prize.