I walked past the house a million times and never even noticed the quince tree until this past week. Not until a friend decided to have a quince paste and jam making session did I start to look around the neighborhood for the fruit that looks like a bulbous pear, but is as hard as a rock. I asked my neighbors with the quince tree whose fruit still clung to the branches, turning ever so slightly yellow-a sign of ripening-if they use the fruit. To my great delight, they said no, they just use it to perfume the inside of their house with the lovely floral scent that is quintessentially quince. Would it be okay if I could use some of the fruit to try my hand at making quince paste, I then asked. To my even greater delight, they said by all means pick as many as you want, anytime. Karin as its called in Japanese is readily known for its healing powers, particularly for a sore throat. Just look at some of the cough drops sold in the stores, and you'll see karin pictured on the package. But most people don't cook with it much here.