Norman Y. Harai was born in 1942 in Kona Hawaii. In 1960, after graduation from Konawaena High, he enrolled at the University of Cincinnati in the B. S. Architecture program. After graduation, he moved to Pittsburgh and worked for several architectural firms. In 1970, after receiving a license to practice architecture in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he was invited to become a full partner in an architectural firm. Later, he established his own firm and practiced architecture until 2007 when he retired.
He and his wife moved to Ahwatukee in 2004 to be near other family members. He has volunteered in Phoenix and Ahwatukee. In 2014, he was awarded the City of Phoenix Impact Volunteer Award by Mayor Stanton for his work as Chairman of the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary Indian Market, a position that he has held for a total of 5 years and continues to hold today.
His watercolor background began in 1985 in Pittsburgh where he participated in watercolor painting classes and gatherings at the Community College of Allegheny County for approximately 19 years. He was juried into the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society around 1993. During his time in Pittsburgh, he was featured in two one-man watercolor exhibitions and in a show in Edgewood, Pennsylvania. His watercolors appear in a number of private collections but he no longer sells any of his paintings.