I finished this novel today. It was one of the first Murakami novels I read, and one of the first he wrote, so I am coming back full circle. It was better than I remembered it. I think the absurdity of the quest narrative is well done. In other words, the quest is an absurd and silly one, so it turns into a parody of the quest narrative, but still the quest narrative keeps the plot afloat and is meaningful in and of itself. (He has a thing of the silly simile, which is another parodic device.) I like that refusal to take things too seriously. The quest is what's important, not the spurious object of the quest.
In English we say "a wild goose chase" for such a pointless quest.
The quest is undertaken somewhat involuntarily, as in Kafka on the Shore. The characters do not know why they are seeking what they are seeking, and find what they are looking for seemingly by chance or intuition.
Nobody in the novel, including the narrator has a proper name. Everyone is identified by a function or at most a nickname. The narrator appears to be the same person as the narrator of Pinball 1973.
I found the notebook in which I was putting all my readings. I hadn't updated it in several years, but here I go again.