The New York Times > Dining & Wine > The Minimalist: A Vegetarian Haiku in Four Dishes (Reg. required): "'In Japan,' she said, 'the idea of focusing on a small aspect of something and then exploding it into many possibilities is an appealing notion, in both life and aesthetics. Working in a limited set and not letting it inhibit you but allowing it to take you to another level is part of the pleasure. Think about using just ink and paper instead of the whole palette of colors and media in painting; in the same way, the limits of cooking with plants force me to be more creative, to explode, almost into infinity, all of the possibilities.'"
This applies to any endeavor. Sometimes having more power/resources makes us lazier, creatively speaking. This probably appeals particularly in Japan because it is severly limited in space and resources and has been for thousands of years.