Murakami's initial success with Hear the Wind Sing encouraged him to continue writing. A year later, he published a sequel, Pinball, 1973. In 1982, he published A Wild Sheep Chase, a critical success. Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball, 1973, and A Wild Sheep Chase form the Trilogy of the Rat (a sequel, Dance, Dance, Dance, was written later but is not considered part of the series), centered on the same unnamed narrator and his friend, "the Rat. " The first two novels were not widely available in English translation outside Japan until 2015, although an English edition, translated by Alfred Birnbaum with extensive notes, had been published by Kodansha as part of a series intended for Japanese students of English. Murakami considers his first two novels to be "immature" and "flimsy," and has not been eager to have them translated into English. A Wild Sheep Chase, he says, was "the first book where I could feel a kind of sensation, the joy of telling a story. When you read a good story, you just keep reading. When I write a good story, I just keep writing. "