Up until late last year, the home page of the ICC Language Schools website boasted a group photo of all its teachers and staff emblazoned with the slogan: "Please come and join the ICC family." In the dead center of this photo, in pride of place in the front row, was teacher Sulejman Brkic.

In the picture, Brkic is a fresh-faced young man in his early 30s (he is 44 now), immaculately dressed in a well-pressed suit and tie — a poster boy, almost, for foreign language-school teachers in Japan.

But those were happier times.