The Tooth Fairy and Coins with Holes

I was flipping through the cable channels one day this week and saw a scene of a movie where a little girl had lost a tooth.  She was told to be sure and put it under her pillow and she’d find something from the tooth fairy the next morning.

Memories, memories…  🙂

Even though I lived in Japan, the tooth fairy dropped by my house whenever I lost a tooth, too.  I would carefully wrap my tooth up in a tissue so it wouldn’t get lost under my pillow or drop onto the floor.  In the morning, there would be a ¥50 coin wrapped in a tissue (probably the same one) in the place where the tooth had been.

For those of you who’ve never been to Japan, the ¥50 coin has a hole in it.  (Actually, there are two coins in Japan which have holes: the ¥5 coin and the ¥50 coin.)  It’s unusual to a lot of people and, come to think of it, I can’t think of any other country that has coins with holes.  (Something to Google later, I suppose…)

So, this is what it looks like.

Isn't it pretty? (Source:

Thinking back now and how the exchange rate was ¥360 to $1, I was getting all of… 18 cents?  (Don’t hold me to that though… mathematics and I don’t get along very well.  🙂 )  But it didn’t matter to me because I could take that shiny ¥50 coin to the local candy shop and buy up to five things with it.

The tooth fairy did eventually raise the value to ¥100 and that’s as high as it got.

Anyway, when I’d tell my neighborhood friends about what the tooth fairy brought, they were all surprised that I actually got money… and money from a fairy!!  (And I was surprised that the tooth fairy didn’t go to their house.)  When they lost a tooth, they’d do the following:  if it was a lower tooth, they’d throw it on or over the roof of their house, and if it was an upper tooth, they’d throw it under the house.  This was done so that the new teeth would grow in strong and straight.

Just as my Japanese friends were surprised about a fairy who would come and pay for my teeth, my American friends were surprised to hear that the tooth fairy would leave me a coin with a hole.  There was even one boy who, after seeing a ¥50 coin I’d taken to school, said it was “fake money” and the tooth fairy had ripped me off.  (Needless to say, I didn’t like him much after that comment!)

So, I’m curious… how much did everyone else get for a tooth?  Or did you have another custom in your family?  🙂