BACKGROUND: The daughter of two Yale University professors, (Ruth) Ozeki radiates confidence, intelligence, worldly sophistication. Since graduating in 1980 from Smith College, she has done graduate work in classical Japanese, worked as a bar hostess in Kyoto's "water district" and as a cinematic storyboard artist in New York, then became a filmmaker in her own right. Her 1995 film, "Halving the Bones," which aired on PBS, traced her mother's Japanese roots. But it wasn't filmmaking that filled Ozeki's dreams. It was writing. Her first novel, "My Year of Meats," was published last year to favorable reviews. Recently released in paperback, it's a wildly entertaining story that addresses a smorgasbord of social issues. Ozeki divides her time between New York and Vancouver.