I got a Go set as a present when I was a kid but the instructions were in French so I never used it. Sadly, I can’t even remember who it was from now and the set is lost / gone.
Then at uni, a friend showed me how to play but it was too complicated so we didn’t even finish the first game. To be fair, we started on 19x19, which was probably too big for a first timer.
Later I became interested in computer programming, AI, etc. and heard about Go again in that context when AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol. That didn’t get me to play the game though.
Then, soon after, back at uni for a second time, a load of my friends started playing chess online against each other during class (slackers!), which made me think… “What was that game with the black and white counters on a grid?” A quick internet search later - “Oh yeah, Go. There must be an app for that.” Another quick internet search later and I had a tsumego app. “Hmm, how does this work…? WTF does ‘no liberties’ mean…?” So I looked up the rules. “Oh, OK. I get it now.” And then I started solving the tsumego (easy ones, obv).
A week or two later, I thought, “You must be able to play a proper game of this online” and I quickly found DGS. So I actually started with tsumego before playing full games!
Soon after, I joined the uni Go club, discovered OGS, was playing online everyday, etc. Good times! And for sure, my earlier encounters with the game helped spark my interest.
So, no connection to CJK whatsoever for me. Although, having gotten into Go, I do now have more of an interest in those cultures. Things like zen, respect, music, etc. I would love to go to those places one day, play Go in the home country, see the landscape, etc.