>"I'm curious how you have assimilated this Japanese work
>ethic/tradition/power of technique/heart, into frame building?"

by simply knowing of it and respecting it. and by trying to live
inside a fairy tale that i have created for myself. i think the bicycle
industry stifles most out of their natural path to improve, and
encourages them to change, to wit: "this year's hot material, or
tube shape, or joining process".
i think the design and the assembly process override the more
normally promoted aspects that i just bracketed above. there is
nothing wrong with commerce and profit but traditional frame
making doesn't easily support these.
i plow along. and i think i exist outside the box. my frames
are all modern tubes, but my processes are not. perhaps i am
fooling myself all these years. (but) i borrow from what i assume
to be a japanese-y attitude to all things handmade and try to
make the frames within this context.

>"Although their technique is quite fine, their ability and initiative
>to take their work to a level of "art", is often lacking."

what is art? in bicycles, esp. cr list type bicycles, people focus on
the exterior appearance. it is nice to have a frame that exhibits
evidence of the "hand touch". i think there is more to it than that.
i'd rather make a superbly constructed frame with a few unintended
warts, than to make an over the top masterpiece that won't track
or last for 45 years. doing the latter, but paying attention
to details - that is my first choice.